Saturday, July 10, 2010

On my way up

I finally moved into the world of professional sports in terms of singing the National Anthem, though I haven't hit the big leagues yet.  This past Monday I sang for the Akron Aeros at Canal Park in nearby Akron, Ohio.  The Aeros are the class AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.  If you aren't familiar with the baseball hierarchy, AA ("double A") is two steps below the majors.  Just below the major leagues is class AAA ("triple A") and there is also class A ("single A") and rookie league.  The minor leagues are known as a "farm system".  All teams except one single-A team in Kinston, North Carolina (Kinston Indians) and the Rookie League team (located in Goodyear, Arizona at the Indians' spring training complex) are located right here in Ohio.  The AAA team is in Columbus (Columbus Clippers), the AA team in Akron, and 2 A teams in the area, one in Lake County (Lake County Captains) and one in Niles (Mahoning Valley Scrappers).
Singing in the middle of the field...thanks Manda Garvin for this shot!

One of the shots from Dad...although the Aeros gave us GREAT seats in the first row right behind home plate, they weren't so ideal for getting pictures of me singing since I had to face the flag in left-center field!

Walking off the field, feeling pretty good!!  Thanks to Khris Garvin for this shot!

Walking up to Orbit, the Aero's mascot, after I sang.

Canal Park is a nice minor league stadium that opened in 1997 in downtown Akron.  We've gone to several games there over the years and I've always had a good time.  It's fun to be so close to the action, though being from Kent, I have discovered I can't utter the phrase "Go Akron" so I say "Go Aeros!"  :)  Anyway, I was very happy with how my singing went, though I wasn't able to get a recording of it.  I was able to get several pictures thanks to several family members who came and a group from my local ward (congregation).  There were some problems with my family getting into the stadium as the tickets that were supposed to be reserved weren't, so some confusion.  Even when I got there I got the feeling people didn't know what to do with me.  Having never sung for them before I certainly didn't know where to go!  Once things got straightened out where I was supposed to go and everyone got in, I had a great time and even surprised myself how well I did.  I was worried warming up it wouldn't be so hot, but for whatever reasons, I can "turn it on" when I need to.  The 90 degree and somewhat humid weather didn't hurt either!  I will say I honestly felt like my heart was going to stop after I started singing.  I was standing in the middle of the field thinking how bad it would look if I passed out right there.  Thankfully I made it!  :)

I sent the CD of myself singing the Anthem back in March around my birthday.  I actually sent recordings to 10 teams including the Aeros.  The Aeros were the first team to get back to me, calling the very next day after I sent the recording in regular mail (granted, it didn't have to go far since all our mail goes to Akron anyway).  Of the 9 other recordings I sent out (all to major league teams), I heard back from the Baltimore Orioles (who are the only ones who have an online way to send recordings!), Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Cubs had already filled the spots for the season and the other teams simply acknowledged that they had received my recording.  The Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays never sent any notice that they received anything.  What I learned is to start sending the recordings out in early February instead of March.  I am planning on sending recordings to the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers soon.

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